Tag Archives: inequality

Leeds United are Right: Gender is No Excuse for Amateurishly Stupid Punditry – by Rob Atkinson

Karen Carney – going viral with COVID theory

As so often with Leeds United, a fine win capping a great performance is possibly going to be overshadowed by a storm in a teacup, and on this occasion the person brewing up the trouble is a pundit on the lamentable Amazon Prime live coverage of United’s game at West Brom. Let’s get one thing straight before we go any further. The gender part of this argument is sod all to do with my opinion of what’s been said in the wake of Leeds’ impressive 5-0 demolition of WBA. The pundit concerned, one Karen Carney, is self-evidently a woman, but that has nothing at all to do with the vacuously stupid remark she made after the match, to the effect that Leeds United probably secured promotion last season thanks to the initial COVID lockdown, which interrupted football for around three months. The break gave us a rest, you see – just us, nobody else, apparently. I’ve heard some crackpot theories in my time, but that one really takes the biscuit.

At the risk of introducing a few facts into this issue, when facts appear to be anathema to Ms Carney, Leeds United, after an earlier rocky spell, had just reeled off five successive wins immediately prior to the cessation of the league programme, recording clean sheets in all of them. When football resumed, with Leeds nicely rested according to Karen’s world view, United proceeded to lose their first game back 0-2 at Cardiff. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, with the more pessimistic Leeds fans bemoaning the COVID break, which seemed to have robbed us of the impetus we’d generated before lockdown. Happily, Leeds hit form again, and that Cardiff defeat was our last, as United recorded seven further wins (two of them with a blistering post-title winning hangover) and one solitary draw to win the league by ten clear points. Ms Carney’s enormous intellect seems to have missed the fact that this was the levellest of level playing fields, with each club having had the same “break” in their programme; it was always going to be down to which club handled such an extraordinary, unprecedented situation with the most resolution and professionalism. Let the record show that that was Leeds United, beyond any shadow of a doubt.

Given the above – and I’d be interested or more likely amused to hear any counter arguments – Karen Carney’s comments on Tuesday night were a hymn to rank amateurism, lazy, inaccurate punditry, and gross stupidity. And yet various people are screeching in horror, because the official Leeds United Twitter account had the nerve to mock this hapless woman’s ridiculous comments. To his eternal credit, Leeds owner Andrea Radrizanni took ultimate responsibility for the club’s tweet, rejecting any criticism of it on the grounds that Carney’s comments were “completely unnecessary and disrespectful to our club”. Well, quite. And well said, sir.

As usual, though, various parties are leaping on the misogyny bandwagon and claiming that it is so, so wrong to out Carney as a fool in this way. There are various problems with this. Firstly, Carney is not the only person to have been berated or mocked by possibly the most laconically witty and barbed club Twitter account of them all. Gabby Agbonlahor has had some this season, and quite rightly so, for his various inane remarks before and since United’s 3-0 dismissal of his beloved Villa. I’m acutely aware of this, because I had my say about that one, as I did more recently (on Twitter) when another inept pundit, Andy Hinchliffe, spoke fluent rubbish in and around Unted’s home game against Burnley the other day. For some reason, Messrs Agbonlahor and Hinchliffe did not immediately have the distaff side flocking to their defence – I wonder why?

Speaking rubbish on a public platform and then having people of any gender defend you because you happen to lack a Y chromosome is hardly unknown. But it’s not healthy and it’s not helpful – I’d go so far as to argue that it’s absolutely inimical to the cause of equality which I, for one, happen to hold dear. If you’re prepared to stand up and voice controversial (ie crap) opinions, then you have to be equally prepared to be held accountable for them. Either that, or we’re heading down a slippery slope whereby people who dress neither right nor left are able to say what they like with absolute impunity, as long as it’s merely crass and stupid, and not actually actionable.

Personally, I’m sick to the back teeth of lazy, amateurish comment as applied to my beloved club, particularly hoary old myths like Marcelo Bielsa‘s teams “always blowing up”. It winds me up beyond belief, whatever the provenance. When I saw Karen Carney spouting such arrant crap tonight, that was the flavour of my resulting ire – that here was another clueless pundit nicking a living by peddling easily disposed of myths about Leeds United. The only time her gender struck me was when I thought to myself, you’ve done the other female pundits no favours there, lass. I truly believe that it’s harder for a woman to make a mark in an area such as football punditry than it should be, because of the preponderance of men, some of them pretty poor fish like Agbonlahor and Hinchliffe. That being the case, a woman really should try to avoid the same lazy and cliched approach of her male counterparts, lest she strengthen the argument of those Neanderthals who hold that women should have no place in football. I certainly don’t hold that view, and that is why, when I hear the likes of Carney talking rubbish and being disrespectful of honest professionals, I will call it out – just as I have with equivalent male idiots. Gender is no excuse, and it’s no magic shield either. Those who argue that it should be need to radically rethink their own view of exactly what equality is all about.

Marching On Together

Starving British children are looking for food in rubbish bins

Starving children reduced to scavenging in bins – in 21st Century Britain, the 6th richest country in the world. For shame, Camoron. Roll on 2015, and let’s get you and your malign cronies OUT.

Mike Sivier's blog

Who said it could never happen here? Children are starving on the streets of Britain as the Tory-led Coalition's hate policies bite ever-more-deeply into the poor [Image: Stoke Sentinel]. Who said it could never happen here? Children are starving on the streets of Britain as the Tory-led Coalition’s hate policies bite ever-more-deeply into the poor [Image: Stoke Sentinel]. British children are sifting through bins left outside houses in search of scraps of food because they are starving, it has been revealed.

But Tories and their supporters in rich London won’t have to look at them – because they are in Labour-held Stoke-on-Trent.

The Stoke Sentinel reported that “Youngsters have been searching through bins in the Hollings Street and Brocksford Street area of Fenton before eating any leftovers.”

It said, “Dozens of hungry families are referred to Fenton’s food bank for help every week.”

What’s really sad about this story is that some of the people interviewed seemed to think the problem was with the mess left behind by these children – youngsters who are, remember, so hungry that they…

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Guest blogspot: Bring on Those Funny Money Woes! by Kate Atkinson

I’m not normally one to voice my political opinion – this being a matter very close to my heart, I tend to get angry and upset very easily when met with the same meaningless, patronising, verbatim Daily-Mail-headline retorts I’ve been hearing for years. However, it occasionally gets too heated and (usually after bursting into furious tears) I want to add my two pennies’ worth.

Edwina Currie

This morning, I was listening to the debate on Five Live about Iain Duncan-Smith’s recent claim that he could (and would) live on £54 per week. I listened as Edwina Currie declared this a reasonable amount with which to get by; I listened as Stephen Nolan ‘challenged’ her to put her money where her outspoken mouth is; I listened as they suggested going for it together. What a lot of people heard was a very hesitant deal being made, and then backtracked upon as Tories do so very well. People saying, ‘there’s no way she’ll do that, there’s no way – it’d be too hard…’ I heard, however, a highly condescending offer being made to the poor, dumb masses, by these two very generous and philanthropic rich people.

Here, you little insects! Guess what we’re going to do? We’re going to have a go at living your peculiar little impoverished lifestyles for seven whole days! I mean, we’ll probably still be living in our mansions with our central heating and our cleaners and our freezers full of food, not to mention that we’ll still be perfectly mentally healthy due to our previously untroubled lives… and it is, of course, quite beside the point that we personally would no doubt be able to live on just what we have now, and absolutely nothing extra for a number of years if we were to be so daring, but a week should be fun enough, don’t you think? What larks!

Besides this, though, there’s the fact that these two will return to their respective lifestyles feeling that they’ve had a ‘fun experience’, as Currie referred to it live on the radio, and that they’ve actually made a point or done some good. And still there will be people living on even less than that. People that have no choice, no get-out clause – and yet Currie still stands by her principle that we can only pay ‘what we can afford’ to poor people. Oh, really Edwina? So it’s okay to cut their resources even further – to tighten the noose and see just how much more it’s possible to bleed out of them? Two words: bankers’ bonuses. We can afford those, apparently. And there are the other discrepancies: Currie suggesting that her having to live on less than £54 per week in the 60s being comparable to living on the same now. Nolan not actually giving a damn about the state of living people have to put up with, as long as his show is listened to and his wage delivered at the end of each month. I could bring up everything, and would, if I didn’t know it would get shot down with whines of ‘but Edwina says’, and ‘let’s agree to disagree’.

Just wanted to have a small attempt at fighting against this supercilious effort to pour oil on troubled waters – we’re not falling for it and we will never be on your side.

Ferkin-Scheidt Speaks Out On “Dining Room Tax”

In the wake of revelations that Local Authorities will be allowed to classify dining rooms as “bedrooms” for the purposes of the so-called “Bedroom Tax”, the Coalition has moved to clarify the position still further.

A Government spokesman who wished to remain anonymous, but who is in fact Iain Ferkin-Scheidt (pictured below) was quoted today as saying:


Iain Ferkin-Scheidt yesterday

“Social housing tenants need to be clear about this. Any room that can be deemed superfluous to the requirements of a Housing Benefit claimant should be counted as a “bedroom” for these purposes – for example a dining-room, conservatory and so forth. I believe that some of you people still have what they used to call “parlours” – and yes, they can be defined as bedrooms too. This will be a matter for Local Authorities’ discretion, but they will need to justify their decisions to High Command.” Going a little purple around the jowls, Mr Ferkin-Scheidt went on: “We have to be very, very careful about terminology here. This is not a “bedroom tax”, it is a Spare Room Subsidy. The Prime Minister himself, long may he reign, has stated this. We want to make it quite clear that this is a measure aimed at shirkers, not workers. Lame excuses such as disability – if you’ll pardon the pun – simply will not wash; much as is the case with most of the frightful common types we’re aiming at here.”

When asked about the fact that many Housing Benefit claimants are actually workers in low-paid employment, Mr Ferkin-Scheidt remained bullish in his defence of policy. “It’s quite simple,” he explained kindly. “Those people on Housing Benefit cannot expect the rest of us to subsidise luxuries for them such as spare bedrooms and parlours and dining rooms or what-have-you, out of our taxes – particularly as many of us will actually be paying up to £100,000 a year less tax from April. As you can see from that figure alone, the country simply cannot sustain extravagance on this scale.

“Those who have failed to provide for themselves and their families, by obtaining only part-time or low-paid employment will have to accept that they are not deserving of the same privileges as good, honest, hard-working, tax-evading, Tory-voting people who bought their own Council Houses in the 80’s when St Margaret was Queen. We shall be taking further measures to ensure that this distinction is recognised, and to remove the burden of financial responsibility from the over-stretched rich. The fact is that the poor, the disabled and the long-term sick have had it easy for far, far too long now. I am currently studying proposals for what some are already calling a “Hot Tap Tax”, although it is in fact a heated water subsidy. Some of us feel – in all compassion and sincerity – that it is an unconscionable luxury for the Shirking Classes to have hot water on tap, and it may well be that Housing Benefit claimants who live in homes with hot running water, showers, flush toilets and so on and so forth, will at some point in the future be subjected to a further cut of 30% in their Benefit, unless they take up the option of moving to a smaller property, with a stand-pipe, and outdoor privy and a well. We are determined to bring the good old days back to this great country.”

Pressed further on the matter of future proposals along these lines, Mr Ferkin-Scheidt refused to reveal any more concrete details, but promised a fuller statement after the second reading of the new “Workhouses & Treadmills Bill” currently proceeding through the House of Lords.

“This Government is pledged to firm, decisive action,” he confirmed. “Did your great-great-great grandmother have hot running water? No, of course she didn’t, and neither did mine – although she did have staff to carry heated water up eight flights of stairs for her – but that’s to become tied up in detail. There’s fridges, too, and all those nasty wide-screen TV’s. Did Sir Winston’s mother have a fridge? Or a 42” LCD TV? And, look – let’s be totally honest here. Ice can be chipped from a frozen well, and allowed to melt. Cold water can then be heated for all the simpler needs of the sub-strata of society, and a short walk down the street to a shared privy never killed anybody, except a few disease-ridden ne’er-do-wells who were never going to become economically productive units anyway. Hot water and indoor flush toilets are privileges, not rights – and we are determined that the Party of Privilege shall live up to its traditions and ensure that people are once again well aware of their place in life.”

Mr. Ferkin-Scheidt is 104.